Question: My condominium association has no reserve funds for our roof. Every year at the annual meeting, the board asks the owners to waive the reserve funding and every year the owners vote to waive the reserves. Now we need a new roof for the building and the board is telling the owners that there will be a special assessment of over five thousand dollars per unit. Can the board just levy such a large special assessment without the owners voting on it? N.R. (via e-mail)
Answer: Probably. The Florida Condominium Act does not impose any limits on a board’s authority impose special assessments. The statute simply provides that the association must give fourteen days mailed and posted notice of any board meeting where special assessments are to be considered. There are other technicalities in the statute as to the content of the notice, as well as the content of follow-up notices that must be sent. Obviously, any special assessment would have to be for a proper common expense, but I assume there is no debate that your roofs are the association’s responsibility.
Any limitation on a board’s authority to impose a special assessment would have to be contained in the condominium documents. Although not the norm, it is not totally uncommon to see condominium documents that impose limits, such as providing that any special assessment over a certain amount requires unit owner approval. I have heard some debate the legality of such a
Your situation demonstrates the risk of routinely waiving the funding of reserves. While associations want to keep assessments low, if there are insufficient reserve funds to pay for a capital item that needs to be replaced, the association has limited options.
Written by Joseph Adams
Originally posted at Florida Condo & HOA Blog